After missing the last two games of the group stage, the Brazilian Neymar was present in the round of 16 and will be there again in the quarter-finals this Friday, December 9 against Croatia. While eyes are also on the state of health of legend Pelé, sick and hospitalized for his cancer, the PSG star could break an old record.
Neymar has already joined Pelé and Ronaldo in becoming the third Brazilian to score in three different World Cups. An achievement against South Korea which also brought him within a length of the goal record with King Pelé’s Brazil (77 goals), which would therefore allow him to enter the pantheon of football definitively.
Neymar was born on February 5, 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, a city located in the state of São Paulo in Brazil. Son of Neymar Santos Sr, former footballer and Nadine Santos, he inherited his father’s first name at birth. In his childhood, the young Brazilian played both futsal and street football where he made dribbling his trademark. At age three, his family moved to São Vicente, where he played for Santista, a local club. In 2003, they left for Santos, a port city in Brazil, less than an hour from São Paulo, where Neymar Jr joined the Santos football club where he would do all his training before arriving in Europe. A football prodigy, the native of Mogi das Cruzes quickly became famous, so much so that his income as a footballer enabled his parents to buy a new property next to Vila Belmiro, the stadium where Santos plays at home.
Aged 15, Neymar earns 10,000 Brazilian reals a month and at 16, he receives 25,000. After coming close to signing with the famous club of real Madrid in 2005, Neymar made the prestige of his club in addition to being the new nugget of Brazilian football. He signed his first professional contract at the age of 17 with his club Santos where he began his professional career on March 7, 2009 with an entry into play. The following week, Neymar scored his first goal with the “pros” against Palmeiras in the league during the semi-final. If his club loses in the final against Corinthians, Neymar Jr participates in the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria.
After winning the league in 2010, Neymar Jr stoked envy in Europe and Santos turned down offers from West Ham and Chelsea. But it was FC Barcelona who recruited the Brazilian in 2013 where he would stay for four seasons before becoming the most expensive player in the history of football and joining Paris Saint-Germain for 222 million euros.
Since the start of his career, Neymar has been chasing the World Cup. In 2014, the Brazilian seemed to be off to a good start, but a terrible injury in the quarter-finals deprived him of a semi-final against Germany where the Seleção collapsed against Germany. The PSG striker won the Confederations Cup in 2013 and especially the Olympic Games in 2016 at home in Rio de Janeiro. In club, Neymar Jr evolved in 3 professional clubs: Santos, FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
With the Brazilian club, he won the Brazilian Cup in 2010, the Copa Libertadores in 2011 and the Recopa Sudamericana in 2012. With the Blaugranas, Neymar won the Champions League in 2015, the Spanish championship in 2015 and 2016 , but also the King’s Cup (2015, 2016, 2017), the Supercup in 2013 and the Club World Cup in 2015. In France, the native of Mogi das Cruzes was titled three times in Ligue 1 (2018, 2019, 2020), once in the Coupe de France (2020), the Coupe de la Ligue in 2020 and the Champions Trophy (2018 and 2020).
In terms of personal accolades, Neymar is considered one of the greatest players in Brazilian and world football. He was voted best South American player of the year in 2011 and 2012, in addition to having won the Golden Samba four times, the trophy for the best Brazilian player playing in Europe.
Neymar has had many injuries during his career at terrible times. These absences have multiplied since his arrival in the French capital. Indeed, before 2017, the Brazilian winger had experienced a huge scare in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2014, at home in Brazil. After a knee from Zuniga in the lower back, Neymar had been hit hard in the vertebrae and could have lost the use of his legs. With FC Barcelona, the former Santos only experienced a few minor injuries keeping him away from the field for a few weeks. During his first season with PSG, Neymar twisted his ankle during a Classic against OM and contracted a fracture of the fifth metatarsal of his right foot. He misses 90 days of competition and misses 16 matches in all competitions. A year later, again. Against Strasbourg in the Coupe de France, the Brazilian relapsed in the same place of the foot. Three months of absence for him and he attends, helpless, the elimination of PSG by Manchester United in the Champions League. In June 2019 he broke his ankle ligaments and had to forfeit the Copa America. In October of the same year, Neymar injured his hamstring and was away from the field for more than a month. The following season, these same hamstrings hurt him twice and caused him to miss two months of competition. This season, during the fifteenth day of Ligue 1, on the lawn of Saint-Étienne, the Parisian has yet to abandon his teammates. Before this new injury, Neymar had already missed 91 matches with PSG, i.e. nearly 38% of matches since his arrival at the club.
Neymar arrives in Paris in 2017 for the sum of 222 million euros after tough negotiations against the backdrop of very complex contractual schemes. He commits for five years and recovers the number 10. He is presented at the Parc des Princes on August 4, 2017 to the delight of the Parisian supporters who adore him. On August 13, Neymar made his debut with the Parisian jersey at Guingamp on the occasion of the second day of Ligue 1. He was a scorer and decisive passer. On January 17, 2018, he achieved an incredible performance against Dijon where he scored a quadruple and provided two assists. During a Coupe de France final lost to Rennes in 2019, Neymar lost his temper and slapped a supporter who had provoked him. He is suspended for three matches. The start of the 2019-2020 season is complicated for the Brazilian. He wants to return to Barça and is reframed by his sports director, Leonardo, and taken in dislike by some of the Parisian supporters. Coming out of confinement in March 2020, PSG took part in the Final 8 of the Champions League and the Brazilian performed very well until the final where he was disappointing. Despite everything, the Brazilian is titled four times champion of France with the capital club, winner of the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue in 2020 as well as twice of the Champions Trophy in 2018 and 2020.
Neymar has had a very strong relationship with Lionel Messi for several years and his time at FC Barcelona. “Lionel was a very special guy for me at Barça” confides Neymar during an interview in 2019. Very moved, the Parisian then talks about the support Messi gave him when the Brazilian needed it. So when Messi arrives and PSG and finds Neymar, the latter does not hide his joy. The Argentinian admits that integrating into the club has been made easier by the presence of ‘Ney’. “I have a long-standing relationship with Ney’, we continued to talk despite not playing together anymore,” admits La Pulga.
Dream of the Brazilian, the Golden Ball is not yet part of the trophy cabinet of Neymar who never did better than a third place in 2017. It must be said that the Brazilian is of the same generation as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two footballers who have won a large part of the individual awards in recent years. Here is Neymar’s Ballon d’Or standings since 2011:
- 2011: 10th (1.12%)
- 2012: 13th (0.61%)
- 2013: 5th (3.17%)
- 2014: 7th (2.21%)
- 2015: 3rd (7.86%)
- 2016: 5th (4.31%)
- 2017: 3rd (12.88%)
- 2018: 12th (0.66%)
- 2019: Unrated
- 2020: Not awarded
- 2021: 16th (0.33%)
Since the start of his career, Neymar has played nearly 15 professional seasons, including five at Santos and four at Barcelona. With the Brazilian club, he played 225 games for 136 goals and 66 assists while in four seasons with the Catalan club, “Ney” played 189 games for 105 goals and 59 assists. With Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar has played nearly 150 games.
Entitled “Neymar, perfect chaos”, the documentary by netflix broadcast on Tuesday January 25 enters the privacy of the PSG star. For a year, the film crews of the streaming platform followed the Brazilian player on a daily basis. Throughout the documentary (broadcast in three parts), the footballer responds frankly to the criticisms made of his game, his absences from the field, his lifestyle and his ancillary activities such as poker.
“I didn’t choose to be a superstar. I’d rather be anonymous than famous. I am aware of my responsibilities. It’s my life, I do what I want” explains the Brazilian in the report. Neymar looks back on his childhood, he traces his rise to the top from Santos to his prowess at FC Barcelona until his arrival at PSG in 2017. His selection career is also discussed, he explains that he has to undergo pressure off- norm just like at Paris Saint-Germain where it is increasingly contested.
Kylian Mbappé, David Beckham Angel Di Maria or even the sevenfold Golden Ball, Lionel Messitake part in the documentary to evoke the Brazilian.
6th highest paid sportsman in 2021, Neymar won 95 million dollars in total this year, including 19 million in extra sports income and 76 million in sports income. Since the beginning of his career, the Brazilian has managed his affairs with his dad who has become his adviser.